Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says that when defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay in June, he had no idea. But, he told the “Brothers from Another” podcast, he wasted no time telling his teammate he had his full support.
Nassib became the first active openly gay NFL player when he posted his Instagram video announcement, and Carr said he was as surprised as everyone else when he saw it.
But the team captain and face of the franchise was vocal in his support at the time, and expanded upon it on the podcast, telling hosts Michael Smith and Michael Holley: “He never talked about it to any one of the teammates.
“His moment was when he grabbed his phone and did it that way [on Instagram]. And I called him. He was working out, so I texted him. And he sent a text right back.
“And he said, ‘Derek, you have no idea how much it meant to me for you to reach out.’ He said, ‘I was hoping that you would reach out.’ I’ll let his words be his words, but to me I wanted him to know.”
Carr says he emphasised to Nassib that the locker room will be a safe space, and that the QB will ‘have his back’, and that football and winning titles remains their top priority.
He added: “I said, ‘Man, bro, I want you to know this.’ I told Carl this, and I’ll share it. I said, ‘Bro, if no one else has your back and no one else will talk to you, I will.’
“I said, ‘I love you, Bro. And I’m here for you.’ And he’s like, ‘Thank you, dude.’ And we had a great conversation.
“So, like, if he comes in the locker room and someone doesn’t agree with him, I was like, ‘That’s OK, as long as you love him [Nassib]. Like, don’t treat him different.’
“Like, that’s our brother, bro. We’re trying to win a Super Bowl. We’re trying to help him be the best version of himself.”
Carr was far from the only NFL player to support the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s announcement, with the likes of Saquon Barkley, Julian Edelman, Trace McSorley, Darius Stills, and Malcolm Jenkins voicing their congratulations.
JJ Watt wrote on Nassib’s post: “Good for you Carl. Glad you feel comfortable enough to share and hopefully someday these types of announcements will no longer be considered breaking news.”
Nassib, who was a walk on at Penn State and didn’t get to start a game till his senior year before flourishing in the NFL, is no stranger to adversity, and is well aware that the coming path could be rocky.
Nassib’s pledge to raise funds for the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention charity for LGBTQ+ youth, had an immediate impact. His own donation of $100,000 was matched by the NFL, and the Trevor Project has said that Nassib’s plea has seen their donations rise by 100 percent.
“It’s inspiring to see, especially since these donations will help us scale our organization to meet the needs of the 1.8 million LGBTQ young people who we estimate to seriously consider suicide each year just in the U.S.,” said communications manager Rob Todaro on Outsports.